Farrell 50: The nation's top players - Nos. 6-10
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
It’s that time of year, the middle of the college football season and time for a look at the Farrell 50 — the top 50 players in college football and how they were as recruits. We continue today with Nos. 6-10.
The skinny: While Wallace was considered a package deal with his brother, Tracin, he was the one who became the recruit who reeled in the bigger offers. In Stillwater, they found the family atmosphere the brothers were looking for, so a commitment came during the spring after their junior season.
Wallace exploded onto the scene in 2018 with 86 receptions for 1,491 yards, which led the Big 12, and 12 touchdowns. He has continued his next-level play this fall with 39 receptions for 703 yards and seven touchdowns.
Farrell’s take: Wallace was ranked as a Rivals250 prospect who had average size and wasn’t a kid with a big frame but he was dynamic with the ball in his hands and he caught everything thrown his way. The Big 12 is a great fit for him and he’s become one of the elite receivers in the conference and in the country. The battle between CeeDee Lamb and Wallace this season is awesome in the conference.
The skinny: Etienne was initially committed to Texas A&M, but re-opened his recruitment two months later. After trimming his list to Clemson, LSU and Tennessee, and taking official visits to Clemson and Tennessee in January, he committed to the Tigers a week before National Signing Day.
Having totaled 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground last fall, Etienne is once again churning out the yards in 2019 with 462 and 5 touchdowns coming on the ground, plus 90 yards through the air.
Farrell’s take: This is a kid I thought might be under-ranked, because he had size, speed and shiftiness. LSU really coveted him but much too late and Clemson did a great job winning this recruiting battle. He’s faster than I expected and his burst has improved greatly. As a guy just outside of that four-star ranking, he is making our evaluation look bad. Etienne has already turned into one of the fastest and most explosive running backs in college football and could make a case for the best running back in the nation.
The skinny: Brown took official visits to Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Georgia and Alabama before committing to the Tigers on National Signing Day. During his time at Auburn, Brown has firmly established himself as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the country. Surprising some by deciding to forego the NFL Draft, Brown has performed at an elite level this fall with 17 tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and even three pass breakups.
Farrell’s take: Brown moved inside full-time and developed into a dominant defensive tackle two seasons ago and had a great year and he took it to the next level last season. He has the power, the quickness and ability to crush the pocket to get the job done. In high school evaluations, he was always a bit up and down. He was inconsistent, but his ceiling was too high to keep him from that fifth star and so far we are looking smart. Now he’s the best defensive tackle in the country and it’s not that close.
The skinny: Burrow committed to Ohio State during the spring of his junior year over Maryland and Iowa State. He served as a back-up to J.T. Barrett and then lost the starting job to Dwayne Haskins before deciding to transfer to LSU.
After an average first season in Baton Rouge, Burrow has become one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season with 1,864 yards, 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He is also completing an NCAA leading 78.4% of his passes.
Farrell’s take: Burrow was a mid-range three star out of Ohio who had good size but was erratic with his accuracy and mechanics. He did everything well but nothing great so to see him emerge as such a dominant passer all these years later is fun. I still don’t know if I believe he can keep it up, but if he continues to make a Heisman run especially at LSU, he will prove to have been underranked.
The skinny: Chuba Hubbard piled up approximately 25 offers throughout the spring before committing to Oklahoma State in early May, over offers from Auburn, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas A&M and Tennessee. After redshirting in 2017 and spending a majority of the 2018 season as Justice Hill’s backup, Hubbard has quickly blossomed into one of the most explosive backs in the country this fall. Having already totaled 1,094 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, he is a legitimate threat to score any time he touches the ball.
Farrell’s take: Hubbard was a four-star athlete out of high school because he could have played numerous positions including defense as well. However, his strength was always his ability as a running back with great vision and excellent quickness. Hubbard is good in space and has shown he has the potential of a star. He’s the rare highly ranked prospect from Canada that pans out.